7 Surprisingly Healthy Halloween Treats
Halloween is just around the corner, and that means ghoulish decor, costumed kids, and lots of candy. Whether you're hosting a party or handing out goodies at your front door, serve up the tasty treats below to make this a healthier Halloween.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Many people throw away the most valuable (and nutritious) part of the pumpkin. Just a half cup of toasted pumpkin seeds provides 92 percent of your daily magnesium needs. This powerful nutrient relaxes nerves and muscles, strengthens bones, and improves circulation. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of fiber, protein, zinc, iron, and phytosterols.
2. Caramel Apples
A mouth-watering fall favorite, caramel apples can be a delicious indulgence. A medium apple provides 14 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, which boost immunity. Apples are also high in phytonutrients, which help regulate blood sugar. Instead of buying pre-packaged, store-bought caramel apples, which can be high in sugar, buy apples and caramel and make them yourself. Roll caramel apples in crushed almonds or walnuts for a hearty helping of healthy fats. For an even healthier option, dip apple slices in peanut butter.
3. Popcorn Balls
Eating popcorn boosts heart health and aids in weight management. This is because popcorn is high in fiber, which helps promote a healthy digestive system and decreases the risk of diverticulitis. For a sweet, savory snack, make popcorn balls with honey, peanut butter, dried fruit, and nuts.
Not just good for decorating, pumpkins are also a healthy, low-calorie food (just 49 calories per cup). Pumpkins get their orange hue from beta-carotene, which helps reduce cell damage and improve immunity. Eating pumpkin has also been shown to increase good cholesterol and improve prostate health. Fresh pumpkin is best, but if you choose to buy canned pumpkin, watch out for added salt and sugar. Try this pumpkin pie shake recipe >
5. Apple Cider
Warm up with apple cider on a brisk fall day. Unlike apple juice, apple cider includes high-fiber pulp and sediment. This improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, and helps you feel fuller, longer. Spice your apple cider with cinnamon sticks (great for blood sugar control) or nutmeg (helps stimulate the brain and decrease stress).
6. Dark Chocolate
Instead of milk chocolate, drop dark chocolate into trick-or-treat bags. Dark chocolate is high in disease-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids, which have been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have also shown that eating dark chocolate can improve heart health. Dip dried fruit, like apricots or raisins, in dark chocolate for a delicious treat.
Toasted nuts are high in unsaturated fats and other nutrients. A one-ounce serving (49 nuts) of pistachios has just 157 calories. Pistachios are high in fiber, protein, potassium (almost as much as a banana), and antioxidants, which have been linked to healthy vision. Instead of putting out a bowl of candy for the holiday, put out a bowl of nuts. Label nuts and all snacks so that anyone with food allergies can avoid foods they’re allergic to.
Kristin Gabrys is a nutritionist at Core Performance.